USA steps up attacks on Al-Qaeda in Yemen

Chief Petty Officer William “Ryan” Owens

Salata Naval Special Warfare Command jnn1776/Flickr | Remix by Jason Reed

Military forces believed to be American launched two attacks on suspected al-Qaeda targets in southern Yemen overnight on Friday in what would be the second consecutive day of United States raids, witnesses said.

Yemeni officials and tribal leaders said that air attacks overnight on Friday struck Shabwa province's al-Saeed area.

Residents also cited ground battles involving American soldiers and al Qaeda militants but two USA officials told Reuters the latest operations did not involve ground combat.

In this frame grab from video, residents inspect a house that was damaged during a January 29, 2017 USA raid on the village of Yakla, in Yemen.

USA drones also launched six strikes on Al Qaeda strongholds in Al Sowmaa district of Bayda, the province where USA navy Seals carried out a raid in January.

"The official's comments were prompted by recent reports questioning whether any useful intelligence was gathered from the raid where Senior Chief William "Ryan" Owens was killed and civilians were caught in the crossfire", notes ABC News.

Computers and cell phones seized during the Special Operations raid in Yemen in January offered clues about attacks al Qaeda could carry out in the future, including insights into new types of hidden explosives the group is making and new training tactics for militants, US officials said. "More than 20 strikes targeted AQAP militants, equipment and infrastructure in the Yemeni governorates of Abyan, al-Baida and Shabwah", Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement issued Thursday.

The U.S. military has said that 14 AQAP fighters were killed in the raid.

The order was given at the same time as a January 29 raid in Yemen was approved, which led to the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens, the Washington Examiner reported.

The U.S. military has carried out about 30 airstrikes over the past two days in south-central Yemen, according to the Pentagon.

Many details of the airstrikes this week remain sketchy, including the exact targets and the number of casualties.

Authorities are using recovered data to find and monitor hundreds of people connected to one of Al Qaeda's most capable affiliate groups. At his first address to Congress, President Donald Trump declared Tuesday that the raid had resulted in "large amounts of vital intelligence".

The US has been battling al-Qaeda in Yemen for years. The father of the only US service member to die in the raid has called for an investigation.

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